Mission asks locals to donate old shoes

Any style, any kind, any size – the HeartHidden Ministries wants Brookhaven’s used shoes.

“We can change a little piece of the world this way,” said Paulette Delaney, with HeartHidden Ministries. “All we have to do is give old shoes.”

Delaney said the ministry is helping families in Kenya start self-sustaining shoe repair businesses by providing them with their first batch of inventory. The group donates gently worn shoes to Kenyans to repair and sell as a way to provide for families. The hope is that the income will give them enough income to buy more shoes from local vendors to sell.

“We are getting them started in a business,” said Delaney. “It’s not just a handout. If we always give them shoes, we’d be crippling them in another way.”

The ministry is establishing a micro enterprise in the country. They have previously set up a similar self-sustaining program by leasing land for a community to grow produce that the community can eat, sell and continue leasing the land, Delaney said.

Americans throw away 630 million shoes each year, which create health hazards if left to disintegrate in landfills, according to Delaney, who said she will personally be part of the group delivering the shoes to Africa.

“By donating your gently worn, used shoes to the shoe drive, your shoes are given a second chance to make a difference,” said Delaney. “Our goal is to collect 7,500 pairs of shoes.”

The shoe drive will last from June 14 to July 7. The Brookhaven drop-off location is in the parking lot beside Waffle House.

“The only way we can do this is if community members step up and help,” said Delaney. “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. Train him how to sell his fish, and he’ll have much more than fish.”

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